Today I learned a new word. I love it when that happens. The word is “selah.” It’s not English and no one knows what it means. Better and better! It has its own Wikipedia article in English, though, and I read there, without citation, that it appears 74 times in the bible, so I found an online citation and added it.
For introducing this word and me to each other, I am grateful to Sanford Biggers, the artist who named both a sculpture and an exhibition Selah, and to Vinson Cunningham, who reviewed this exhibition in the New Yorker. I added those citations too, in the Contemporary usage section of the Wikipedia article.
Okay, so, selah. Selah, סלה, in the original Hebrew, appears mostly in breaks in the psalms. It is pronounced see-lah, not say-lah, and it may indicate a pause, or an instruction to reflect or to exalt the deity, or it might be an alternative version of amen, “let it be so.” Other proposed translations include “forever,” “connect,” “prayer,” and, poetically, “Let those with eyes see and with ears hear.” I like Mr. Cunningham’s formulation: “Think about that for a second.” What a great name for a blog! Selah.